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Arrogant student is difficult to manage. Advice would be good please

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by daisy2019, Apr 24, 2019.

  1. daisy2019

    daisy2019 New commenter

    I took on a new class in February. Things are going well but there is a rather arrogant student in the class (male, 17 years old). He is hard-working though but he hardly engages in the lesson, looking down at his tablet while I am teaching the whole class and sometimes not even looking up when I address him in class. He had a significant punctuality issue last term and would not listen to me during 1:1 chats, bringing in his high test result of 85% during these discussions to get the upper hand. I feel quite uncomfortable when talking to the student and am not sure how to go about this.

    I try and start each lesson with a clean slate, wishing him a good morning to which he does not respond. His personal tutor and director of studies have been involved and have spoken with his mum about his punctuality but his mum backs him up and says he gets panic attacks when things are not going well so that we should back off. His punctuality has now improved but the way he treats me has not. Not sure how to go about this?

    Many thanks
  2. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Other than not engaging in the lesson and looking at his tablet, what other symptoms are there? What I mean is, is he disrupting the others in any way? You say the way he treats you has not improved. How does he treat you? Is he outright rude or just not engaging? He's clearly not suffering academically so unless he's causing problems with other students I'd be tempted to back off.
    He may have issues I know nothing of and 'engaging' means different things to different people
    pepper5 likes this.
  3. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    I had one or two students like this. It transpired one of them had indeed got issues, but the knowledge was disseminated on a need to know basis, and apparently it had been decided further up the food chain that I didn't need to know. The other lad was simply arrogant. I put it down to being the big fish in the small pond compared to his peers. I just put up with it, happy in the knowledge that the move to Uni would find him playing the role of a much smaller fish in a much larger pond.
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  4. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    why do you need him to change?
  5. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Is this more about you ? Arrogant you think though this is your perspective and really so what ? Suspect you are looking for issues ( there may be some - often students on the spectrum will have trouble making eye contact but I repeat so what ? ......and really ? Hard working you say ? I 'd settle for that. Mountain mole hill I think .....
    pepper5, agathamorse and sparkleghirl like this.
  6. GirlGremlin

    GirlGremlin Occasional commenter

    Is this boy trying to undermine you? I've definitely had 17year old boys (and girls and other ages) who think they know it all... they go through the entire 2 years of the course thinking they're smarter than me almost... as long as they're getting good grades and not disturbing others, I've learnt to let it go. There will always be people like this in life, and one day they will get a rude awakening.
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  7. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    This raises an interesting issue regarding how far we are responsible for encouraging students to be polite, considerate individuals. The behaviour you describe is rude. Not engaging in the lesson could be confronted but since he is succeeding academically, I suspect you would struggle to get support from management or parents.

    Rude adults were probably rude teenagers unfortunately and whilst the idea of changing personalities might be nice, it isn't practical or advisable since teachers themselves are a diverse bunch!

    Can you just focus on the other students and 'ignore' the rudeness for the next few months? Or is it more significant and you think it requires more follow-up?
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  8. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Teachers should ‘ model’ good social skills. If the OP were to follow it up then I think we should be asking what she / TES peer advisor would expect to see as result ? Personally I think that it would be energy not well expended ..
  9. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    I had one very bright boy in my A Level group once. He'd come to us after difficulties in another school - when I met staff from that school they said they were well rid of him, and were sympathetic. He would arrive on time and get out a book; he'd read during the lesson, and occasionally come out of his reading to join in the lesson, always with a perceptive question or comment. He was poor at getting written work done, but tests and exams were a breeze for him; he got an A grade in the end (as did a couple of hard-workers in the group). I believe he was the same in his other subjects. In our Dept we agreed on a non-confrontational, encouraging approach to him and it seemed to work effectively. By the end of his sixth form career he had educated himself in some other scientific disciplines not taught at A Level and we reckoned he was already operating, self-taught, at first-year university level. He told us that he enjoyed his time at school and was grateful for the opportunities he's been given.
  10. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    He could be being rude, or he could be on the ASD spectrum - lack of eye contact, not seeing your point of view, etc. How do other staff find him?
    (If ASD, they often find change difficult, too, so you might be finding him worse than other staff. I took over a class in January and was warned I might not get a word out of one lad with ASD, especially as I was female.)
  11. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    I would be disappointed ( but not surprised)if the setting had not a) identified and addressed the possibility of ASD and b)not made the colleague aware.

    It is the term ‘arrogance ‘which I find most telling. Students with disabilities develop coping strategies and these should not be confused with random labels?
  12. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    I have felt for a long time that the current doctrine that learning should be social, active, group based, all the rest of it, is overlooking the needs of too many children.. It's not that I think learning should NOT be any of those things, simply that there must be room for all learning styles. Being reserved or introverted seems to be viewed as a character defect to be remedied. It's not true. I'm sure some people do prefer a social approach to learning, but many also prefer to be allowed to quietly assimilate and process their learning.
    Unfortunately we as teachers have also been conditioned to see active participation - 'engagement' - as the key to good learning. It's not.

    It's heartening to see some of the responses here, acknowledging that this boy might not have and might not be a problem at all. It's what I tried to hint at with my first response but the OP hasn't been back. Interestingly, I find the reponse from the TES behaviour guru the one which most rankles with me. Is the boy being rude? Or is his 'rudeness' just the interpretation being made by someone who doesn't understand his personality, his issues and the way he relates to people? Only a problem because of the narrow vision we now have of what learning should look like?
    tgom and minnie me like this.
  13. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Spot on @sparkleghirl. A heartening post (and I speak as one who has advocated the social aspect of ‘learning ‘ in the past with my AFL rationale - ha ! )but yes I agree that it does not help to be over subjective / use emotive language to define what you may perceive as an affront to your position ? Let’s hope the OP gets back ?
    sparkleghirl likes this.
  14. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    I take your point @sparkleghirl Working with the limited information provided, I perhaps took the judgements made by the OP too much at face value. Absolutely, being quiet/shy/introverted etc is not rude and you are right that it isn't a useful word to use.

    To explain my thinking, the OP mentions that the student doesn't respond to a greeting when he comes into the room and I would be surprised that the teacher wouldn't be aware of an additional need so severe that he wasn't able to provide this very small courtesy. He is also able to advocate for himself in meetings as the OP discusses. I do agree that students need to be allowed to be individuals and be different but I also think that almost all students are able to interact with others in some way - such as an introductory greeting - and should be expected to do so. It will be expected in society and very few students by this point in the year, would not feel able to do this. It won't necessarily affect his learning but that isn't the only point of formal education.

    Thank you for your comments and the reminder to be wary of using emotive vocabulary when discussing behaviour.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019

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